Wind Farm Sitings
While MidAmerican Energy does not have a formal written standard, we follow a process to review the impact that a wind farm would have on the environment at a considered site. The following are among actions taken in connection with siting a wind farm:
- As an initial screening action for the Century and Intrepid Projects, MidAmerican Energy met with individuals from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nature Conservancy, Iowa State University, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club regarding the development of a map entitled Areas of Concern for Wind Farm Sitings. The small-scale map is maintained by the wildlife state program coordinator at the Iowa DNR and does not show the areas of concern in a detailed manner. On a project-by-project basis, an updated version of of the map is reviewed to ensure that a proposed wind farm site avoids areas of concern.
- A Phase I Environmental Risk Assessment is completed for each wind farm site. The assessment is meant to detect potential adverse impacts on the environment in connection with the parcels of land being proposed for a wind farm. The assessments conform to the American Society of Testing Materials E1527-00 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Process.
- A Phase I Avian Risk Assessment is completed for each site. The assessment is meant to detect potential adverse impacts to birds, and in some cases bats, in connection with a proposed wind farm location. The assessment includes a relevant literature review, interviews with appropriate government agencies and local experts, and a field reconnaissance. The project team also attempts to materially comply with the assessments’ siting and engineering controls recommendations.
- A Cultural and Biological Review is completed for each site. The reviews are meant to detect potential adverse impacts to local cultural resources and native wildlife. The project team also attempts to materially comply with the reviews’ recommendations.
- We review the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Services Interim Guidance on Avoiding and Minimizing Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines and attempt to materially comply with those guidelines in negotiations with turbine vendors, engineering services and construction contractors.
- A wetlands delineation report with respect to each site is completed. Based upon reports provided to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Corps has established preliminary jurisdiction over several acres. As a result, we secure the appropriate permits that address any potential risks with regard to disturbing identified wetlands.
- Once the wind farms are in operation, we conduct ongoing environmental monitoring to ensure our actual operational results are consistent with the findings of our original assessments.
- We comply with all other applicable environmental laws with regard to each siting, construction and operation of a wind farm.